Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 19 News List

The Vinyl Word

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

A-te.

PHOTO: JULES QUARTLY, TAIPEI TIMES

We now have the essential selection. The dance music scene in Taipei has exploded in the last six months with the opening of Luxy and Ministry of Sound. Every week there are competing attractions, where four years ago there were none aside from a small place called Rock Candy on Fuxing and Bade roads which occasionally hosted a local German DJ.

Tonight, in the Room 18 corner, Japan's number one DJ Kentaro faces off against one of Britain's best-loved radio DJs Pete Tong, who will be playing at Luxy. The UK DJ has Dave Seaman and Phil K from the seminal Midlands club Renaissance in his corner, but Kentaro has the skills and does some interesting work.

Ministry of Sound in Neihu is working out its resident DJs Damian Saint and Buff Wise, after the excitement of putting on the world's number one DJ Tiesto, Jocelyn Brown and Bert Bevans. It will be putting on Eddie Halliwell next week, followed by rhythm kings the Jungle Brothers, Hyper, Seb Fontaine and Crystal Method, among other acts in the coming months.

Also in Taipei there is the down beat sound, such as last week when we checked out Nowhere, near National Taiwan University, and found a 25-year-old Taiwanese DJ who wasn't afraid not to please the crowd. Basically, there are two kinds of DJs: some put down for the dance floor and the others see it as their mission to lead the flock. A-te (阿哲) is the latter. He was uncompromising -- a clanging track of pealing bells that resembled Tubular Bells in a train wreck was awesome -- and pushed the boundaries. The Vinyl Word liked it. As for hip hop, we also popped in at TU and it looked and felt like Wednesday night, without the ladies.

In Europe and the US they vote for the number one DJ. In Japan, he or she must win a contest. Kentaro was the first DMC World Champion from Asia, at the age of 20. A fan Web site says his skills are such they "jumped over the dead fence of ordinary tablist's value[s] and traditional style[s] of turntablism." Cool. Room 18 in Warner Village should be a suitable venue.

Luxy on Zhongxiao East Road will comfortably accommodate Pete Tong -- who hosts the most listened-to dance music show in the world, The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1 -- and who is so famous he even has a "cockney" rhyming slang catchphrase ("It's all gone Pete Tong") that was used in Birmingham to mean it's all gone "wrong" in a good way, i.e. You were mashed.

Dave Seaman was a magazine editor, of Mixmag, and influential in the early days of the dance scene in England as a DJ. He became one of the first superstar remixers, for Michael Jackson and Sting among others. Tong should put down for the dance floor, Seaman should mix it up a bit.

BREAKZO9 tomorrow at Luxy is touted as the "new order of [the] Taipei dance scene": funky breaks, nu skool and drum n' bass, from some local promoters. Get in for NT$400 before 11:30pm.

The Vinyl Word: Check out www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/ for Pete Tong's Essential Selection, though the DJ is not hosting his show at the moment because he's in Taipei.

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